Thursday, March 31, 2016

Lunch Experiment

Hello, peeps!  I hope today finds you happy and healthy.  Today's post is about experimentation.  Nothing science-y.... just something new that I'm trying based on some vegan videos I found during my research.

It's simple enough and I've discovered that I absolutely love eating this way.  I've posted the video that inspired me at the end of this post.

I've heard over and over again that in order to be truly healthy, you should eat a rainbow everyday.  I love the sound of this!  And the look of it!  You simply can't deny that this is beautiful.

So, in keeping with this, I tried something new today for lunch.  I bought a big steamer pot because I love steamed veggies.  I prefer to steam them because they come out less soggy than when I boil them.  I probably boil them for too long, but....

I chopped up a bunch of veggies that I needed to use.  Here, I have purple cabbage, onion, mushrooms, and broccoli.  I put them all in the steamer basket.

 I used simple spices:  Cumin (because I love it), turmeric (because it's good for you), some garlic salt, regular salt, pepper.


All of this went into the steamer pot. 
Note:  I tend to make a lot of food!  This was meant for one person - me - but I ended up with enough to feed myself for lunch, dinner, and lunch the next day.
I discovered some spinach in my fridge so I put that on top.  I love fresh spinach!

Next, I put some rice on.  Rice is becoming a staple for me.  Hey, rice has been a staple in Asian communities for centuries and I don't see any fat Asians.  And from what I've seen so far, many vegans swear by it.
The colorful herbs are something I picked up in a little shop in Savannah, GA.  The owner said he and his wife mix it up in their rice.   I like to try new things so I thought, "Why not!"  I'm not sure if I just didn't use enough of it or what, but there I couldn't taste any difference.  Maybe I'll try more of it next time.

I've discovered that I like my dishes with a lot of variety.  So, I decided to add some canned red kidney beans and canned chopped tomatoes, both drained. 
This was the result!  I added some extra salt and some tamari which gave it a great flavor.  The next day, instead of tamari I added a couple of teaspoons of hummus on the top.  I love hummus anyway but I discovered this little trick from the Edgy Veg.  She mentioned this in one of her videos and I thought it was a great idea.  It was yummy!!!

I loved this so much, it will be one of my staple dishes. 
The takeaway from this:  chop up any veggies, throw them in a steamer, mix them with rice and beans, throw a little of your favorite spices, and voila!
Happy Eating!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Why I'm choosing Vegan

In doing my research of the vegan diet, I've come across those on both sides of the fence.....those who are die hard vegans and those who are adamantly against it.  In my own humble opinion, I believe it is an individual lifestyle choice.  I think people choose it for different reasons.

As a disclaimer, I must admit that I am not totally vegan yet.  The first week I tried it, I had some vegan sour cream and thought it was completely nasty!!!  We were having tacos that night and I thought, "I'll be a good vegan and have the vegan stuff."  Holy cow - gag!!!  And if I'm honest.... I do NOT think I like tofu.  Ok, ok.... I admit I haven't actually had it yet.  My non-vegan mother has eaten it and said it's pretty good.   Hmmmm... well, the jury's still out on that one.

So, I figured I was going to have to wean myself off of certain things.  Like dairy.... see my post about the Cheese!!

I felt guilty about not being able to go "cold turkey" until I came across this video from the Edgy Veg.  God bless her, I know she was speaking directly to me!  In this video, she gives us 10 step on how to transition to veganism.  And, trust me.... it IS a transition.

My reasons for going vegan are purely for health reasons.  The fact that it saves the animals and is easier on the environment is a huge side benefit for me.  I am nearing the age of 50 and I was still eating like a 20 year old.  I finally had enough.  I know I have to make a change in lifestyle, not just diet.  Typically, I tend to jump in with both feet when I take on something new, but I want this to last.  So, I'm forcing myself to take baby steps so that each one becomes a new positive habit.  I'm trying not to focus so much on the numbers but more on overall health. 

I'm sure I'll make mistakes along the way.  I'm only human, after all.  If I can just get past the cheese thing.....

Next week, I'll be trying to cut out oil.  I've been reading that oil is bad for you and many vegans cook without it.  I'll let you know how that goes.

Until then....  check out my latest post on a new recipe I tried.

Happy Eating!


Cabbage & Cashews

I am often searching for and saving recipes that I might want to try.  Today, I needed something fairly quick and after a quick search of my Vegan Vegetarian board on my Pinterest, I came across this recipe.

I had all the ingredients and needed to use my cabbage so I thought it was the perfect dish.  Here's the recipe in its original form (see Washington's Green Grocer):

1/4 cup butter or olive oil

1/3 cup raw (unroasted, unsalted) cashews

3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon cumin seed

1 small (about 11/4-pound) cabbage, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a large (12- to 14-inch) frying pan over medium heat, melt butter (or warm oil). Add cashews, ginger, and cumin; cook, stirring often, until cashews and ginger are golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add cabbage and turmeric; cook, stirring often, until tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

I am typically one who will take a recipe and modify it.  I did that today and it turned out really delicious.  Here's what I did:
  • I used red/purple cabbage because that's what I had
  • I added sliced mushrooms
  • I added pearl couscous
  • I added a touch of veggie broth and let it cook down.  I had added too much salt because I typically don't measure.  The broth cut the saltiness.
Also, I didn't use fresh ginger or cumin seed.  I simply used ground ginger and cumin.  Still tasted great!

Note:  I didn't take a picture of my completed dish..... ate it too quickly!  Guess I'll have to make it again!

But seriously, if you like cabbage, you MUST try this dish!

Happy Eating!

Monday, March 7, 2016

It's the CHEESE!

About a month ago, I decided to take on a Vegan Challenge on Instagram.  About 20 years ago, I went for a full year as a vegetarian and never missed meat so I thought this would be fairly easy for me.  It was.... but with a couple of exceptions.  I.... LOVE... CHEESE!

I do... I love cheese.  I love sour cream.  I love creamy things. 

For the most part, the Vegan Challenge wasn't challenging at all for me.  It was pretty easy for me to cut out meat and I didn't miss it.  But, here was my challenge....

I found I have a very hard time cutting the cheese..... ok, I know how that sounds!!! 

To be true to the Vegan Challenge, I did try the vegan cheese and the vegan sour cream - but, not wanting to scare my family with projectile vomiting, I opted to put that aside after the first try.  I think it must be an acquired taste.  This is something I'll have to work on.  ....Or maybe not.....

Anja, from Cooking With Plants, says you don't need cheese!  However, for those of us who LOVE cheese, she provides us with several cheesy vegan options.  I love her!

10 vegan cheese alternatives

After my week of the Vegan Challenge, I thought, "I can do this pretty easily."  So, I began to do some research on recipes.  I didn't want to eat just lettuce, you know?! 

[Let me just set this straight right here - Vegans do NOT eat just lettuce.]

I actually found Anja (Cooking with Plants) after my Vegan Challenge.  I loved her recipes so much that I began to follow her on Instagram and YouTube.  I also found a little gem with Cherie Tu with Thriving On Plants, who I also found on Instagram and YouTube.  I was captured by the fact that Cherie was a teenager and choosing a vegan lifestyle.  I was also enthralled by her beautiful photos and videos of the food she makes.  Even as young as she is, I believe she is a food artist! Check out her breakfast oatmeal in the video below. 


And you know what?  I don't see a lot of cheesy things in Cherie's food either!

So, I think my own challenge is to begin to eliminate the cheese and sour cream from my diet.  I'll let you know how that goes.